Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings' Walsh, Locke adjusting to TCF Bank Stadium wind

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: April 29, 2014 - 11:57 AM

The Vikings special teams unit is already trying to get acclimated with its new home at TCF Bank Stadium, which can be a challenge.

The wind intensifies in the horseshoe-shaped stadium and can create headaches for punters and kickers. So Blair Walsh and Jeff Locke paid a visit to the stadium before the university began installing the new turf and reached out to a few Gophers to swap notes.

Walsh said the idea came from Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer at the end of last season. Walsh and Locke reached out to redshirt junior punter Peter Mortell and former Gophers kicker Chris Hawthorne, who started last season.

“The field is definitely not conducive to hit straight balls,” Walsh said. “The ball is going to move no matter what with that wind, but you can definitely conquer it, master it and sort of make it your advantage. And that’s the way we’re going to have to look at it from a positive outlook on it.”

The stadium is built east-and-west, rather than north-and-south, so the Minneapolis skyline could be in the background of the west end zone. It’s created some tricky wind patterns and according to Hawthorne, TCF Bank Stadium was one of the toughest Big 10 stadiums to kick at during his career.

“This one and Indiana both were really tough,” Hawthorne said. “This one is even tougher because of the really frigid temperature we had the last two games. Obviously, the wind doesn’t help things.”

Hawthorne said it’s difficult to judge distance on kicks because the wind will make the ball spin quicker. Walsh said the wind doesn’t impact field goals inside 40 yards, but he noticed the wind coming over the scoreboard when kicking from 45 yards.

Despite the challenge Walsh and Locke didn’t have to face in the Metrodome, they hope to get comfortable with the conditions and use it to their advantage.

“Priefer told me something way back when that everybody is playing in the same conditions,” Walsh said. “When you’re at that stadium, the team across on the other sideline is playing in the same conditions you are. It’s a mental thing as much as it as a physical.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Houston
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Colorado 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Carolina
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Montreal
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Canisius
Temple 6:00 PM
Delaware
FIU 0 1st Half 19:16
Long Island 4
Lehigh 2 1st Half 17:22
Quinnipiac 6
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Richmond
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
South Florida
Ga Southern 6:00 PM
Stetson
Yale 0 1st Half 20:00
Vermont 0
Cleveland State 2 1st Half 18:33
Virginia 2
Wright State 0 1st Half 20:00
Western Carolina 0
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Morgan State 6:30 PM
Rider
Idaho State 6:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oakland City 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Eureka 7:00 PM
Bradley
Appalachian St 7:00 PM
Charlotte
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Duke
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Coastal Carolina 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Montana State 7:30 PM
South Dakota
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
Evansville
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 42 2nd Half 19:29
UCLA 27
St Mary-KS 24 2nd Half 18:15
South Dakota 71
William & Mary 44 2nd Half 17:37
Wofford 23
Troy 33 1st Half 2:10
Evansville 48
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
Indiana-Southeast 6:00 PM
IUPUI
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Tenn Temple 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
West Virginia St 6:00 PM
Radford
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Trine 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Loyola Marymount 0 1st Half 19:26
USC 2
Dartmouth 0 1st Half 20:00
New Hampshire 0
Ball State 5 1st Half 17:36
Pittsburgh 2
Tenn Tech 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Samford 7:00 PM
Tulane
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Ark-Little Rock 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
CS-Northridge 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Oklahoma St 8:00 PM
Weber State
Washington 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Cal Poly 8:00 PM
New Mexico
(10) Louisville 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT